Friday, January 7, 2011

Interview: Moody B / Council House Recordings

Moody B is the man behind Belfast label Council House Recordings, a label that's built it's sound on a distinctive style and originality that is pretty unique in today's music industry. The label is run by a small collective of like minded electronic music enthusiasts who have over 15 years of experience in the music industry. Moody B brings his years of previous experience in running his own label 'Church Street Recordings' along with his production and remixing talents. His influence of Chicago style house and more harder Detroit sounds heavily influence the labels music.

With just 5 releases to date the label has grown a devoted fan based with quiet ease with names like Geist, Damolh33, Lejack and Moody B himself having featured. It's a label the press have been quick to praise with everyone from DMC update, iDJ and others tipping the label as one to make a huge impression, especially with true house believers.

It's tradition approach to house and it's fusion of Detroit and Chicago house sounds give it a real difference and have made it a regular on my own untitledmusic shows. At the close of 2010 I managed to catch up with the main himself to find out a little bit more about things...

Moody B DJ Mix
Moody B - Rough & Ready DJ Mix by Kahua Music

Tell us about how Council House Recordings came about?

"The Council House ethos is basically home grown producers taking things back to basics, making the music they want to make without worrying about what's in the hype charts and keeping things a bit rough and dirty around the edges. It's the old school sound being kept alive with a bit of old school gear in the home studio, along with some more modern productions in the mix.

The vision of Council House came about whilst on a short hiatus from the music industry. I was a bit tired of alot of the house music coming out at the time and I wanted to create new music but felt I needed to head in a different direction. Digging out some of my old records I began to rediscover those the great sounds of Chicago and Detroit that I once loved but nearly forgot. Completely inspired I was back in the studio experimenting with these sounds and started making the music I always wanted to make. Realising there were people interested and appreciating what I was doing we felt it was the right time to launch the label."
Originally from Philadelphia, but living in Ireland - tell us about your time in the states and why the move?

"I grew up in Allentown just north of Philadelphia. It was a very industrial area known for its steel and iron. Growing up I had been involved in all sorts of musical mishaps and adventures from a few horrible punk bands to several industrial band experiments. The industrial music had triggered my interest in drum machines and synths which soon led me to the electronic genres. From the early 90's on I had started to collect dance music and messing about with samplers and drum machines. 

Myself and a few local DJ's threw a few club nights and on off party's, some good, some not so good. This is when I realized I really wanted to concentrate on the production end of things and after a couple of years of learning my way around the studio and writing alot of tunes, Church Street Recordings was born and started releasing my own material. After a few solid releases things started to fall into place. I started to dj better gigs out of state in San Fran and New York and started getting offers from other labels to release for them. 

After doing a record deal with Deep Freeze in Glasgow I was soon across djing at some of their events. Soon after a gig in Ireland I had decided to move my equipment over and spend some time here as well as playing gigs around Europe and I just never went back to the States! Here I am 10 years later."

Council House Recordings Soundcloud Page
Latest tracks by Council House

How does Ireland's underground scene suit your approach?

"The label is getting really great support from some of Ireland's top Dj's ie Paul Hamil (Psychatron), Shane Johnson (Fish go deep) Dibby Dougherty (Yello/Audiotherapy), Timmy Stewart and Greg D (Fish go deep)."

How would you describe your creative process - are you a lock yourself away type or wait for inspiration?

"It's hard to say. The creativity has always been a bit unpredictable - sometimes I can pop out a track in a couple of days, at other times I have writers block for a week or two. Depending on what's going on in my life at the time can really affect my creativity. When its freezing cold like it is at the moment I really like being locked away and workin on the music. If I'm feeling creative I'll generally write alot of the melodies, synth patterns, chords and drop in the noises and effects. I'll save the drum patterns, tidying up and mixdowns for times I'm less inspired."

Detriot's sound influences your sounds - what is it about that style that grabs you?
"When I was buying tons and tons of records in the 90's I came across alot of the old Detroit stuff when it wasn't as collectable and was easy to get your hands on. I bought quite a bit of it. I loved the sound but never played it much at that time as I was playing much more housey sampled disco type stuff. But as time moves on so does taste and style. As I wanted to get away from sampling a bit, I think the synthesis and programming is what has drawn me back to the Detroit Sound. I love messing about with old synths!"

Grab the free Council House Sampler here: FREE SAMPLER

How has your past experience with Church Street helped establish Council House?

"When I started `Church Street in 98 I had no real idea of how the label thing really worked. I jumped in head first and It was quite a learning experience in the beginning. I made some good choices and some bad ones but I had a few people to help along the way. The most important thing I learned is how to deal with some awkward personalities in the music business. All the experience with Church Street has helped me alot with running Council House but running a label back then as compared to now it's a completely different game. Especially with digital downloads and social networking. Looking back I can't believe how much things have changed!"

What are you listening to at home these days?

"Such a wide range of things, here's the top - Non Dance - The Ruts - The Crack LP, The Trojan Records Sampler 02, Vice Squad - The Rarities. Dance - On MP3- Alan Svartr- Misinformation, Mr Morning- Fire, Axel Bowman- Purple Drank, Hieroglyphic Being- Space is the place, Bang Bang- Susan Cries (Natcho Acid Mix), On vinyl - Appointment no3, Scudge the remixes, Reggie Dokes - until tomorrow"

I've read you're more of a producer than a DJ, but surely the crowd interaction makes it worth it?

"Over the years I have played some really great gigs in several different countries and I have really enjoyed for the most part. To be honest I have never been much for the limelight or big crowds. I knew early on in the game my focus would be more on making the music rather than playing it. I love working away on my own, locked up in the studio. Some people may consider me an introvert I suppose. But if there is the right gig in the right place at the right time I am more than happy to oblige."

It's been a turbulent time for the industry as a whole of late - what's the secret of survival?

"I think alot of it is experimenting and trying different approaches in both the music and promotion to see what works best. There is no exact formula to success these days. First you really have to believe in what you're doing, then you have to find the most effective and genuine ways of getting peoples' interest. Personal interaction works much better than spamming people to death. Try to set yourself apart a wee bit from the others. We have a new limited edition vinyl release coming out that has really gained a lot of attention to the label as a whole."
What does 2011 hold in store for Council House followers?
"Lots of new projects with an array of different artists on board. Some on limited edition vinyl projects as well. We have got DJ Spun(Rong music NYC) on remix duty for our next release. We have releases lined up with Detroit Techno guru Shawn Rudimen and Acid House legend Affie Yusuf. We are also getting together and working with a couple electro pop groups doing special projects and remixes - Details  to be announced soon!"

Council House Website

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